Labor, wages and living standards in Java, 1680-1914

P. de Zwart*, J.L. van Zanden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The development of living standards in Java has long been a subject of scholarly interest. A number of scholars have suggested that between 1600 and 1900 Southeast Asian living standards declined significantly. The present article contributes to these issues by calculating long-term real wages for Java between 1680 and 1914, following Allen's subsistence basket methodology. New data on wages and prices were collected from the Dutch East India Company (VOC) archives and connected to data on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The resultant long-term real wage developments show a slightly different picture of Javanese living standards than that which has emerged from the literature to date.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-234
JournalEuropean Review of Economic History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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